What's in stock? What should be in stock?
One of the biggest problems perpetually facing retailers of all sizes is discovering emerging local trends, stocking their stores with the most popular local products and best selling brands, and then conveying in-stock information to nearby shoppers.
At a basic level, retailers can count on insights gained by working with data sharing services like NPD, but it’s really hard to glean emerging local trends from national sell-through data. In many ways, this data is better used to discover problems in margins or inventory glut rather than what to buy right now. Plus, the lack of context geographically or demographically makes it far harder to wade through data to find store-specific retail success.
On the other hand, more sophisticated retailers have built proprietary systems that are able to detect consumer affinity or inventory movements. Take as an example, a large online marketplace that has access to the current inventories of thousands of stores and can calculate the day to day changes in those inventories. They can easily create conclusions about what is selling, at what velocity, to who, and where. It’s not surprising to see ads running in your community for trending items - if you are actually the one providing them with these insights.
Overall, the lack of these types of deep insights put most retailers at a tactical disadvantage in both gaining access to the most popular products in their area and subsequently marketing them.
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